Hautes-Pyrénées: Did Pipo dog die from cyanobacteria poisoning in Lake Puydarrieux?

the necessity
Pipo, a three-year-old dog, died after bathing in Lake Puydarrieux in mid-May. Its owners suspect cyanobacteria poisoning, prevalent in lakes and rivers for millennia, but especially dangerous for dogs if they multiply.

“We testify so it doesn’t happen to others. Jeff and his wife will never forget it. In mid-May, they suddenly saw their dog Pipo, a three-year-old Border Collie, die after it bathed in Lake Puydarrieux.

“We came from Haute-Garonne to spend a few days with friends. On Sunday, we strolled around Lake Puydarrieux. Pipo is like a fool, ”said the grieving master. “It was so hot that day, and he was enjoying the water for a while. His masters played with throwing him the stick that he was happy to bring back as usual, then the walk was over.

“He doesn’t want to get out of the water anymore. We have to force him to come. And as the family drove to the car, Usopp judged himself and confused himself in the grass. “There, in five minutes, everything changed,” Jeff said. “He started to wander, lay at our feet, then his eyes returned. He died suddenly, which we could not do. »

Shocked, the family said goodbye to Pipo and put him on the ground without the latter being examined by a veterinarian, nor an autopsy being performed. And when Jeff wanted to understand what could have happened, a cyanobacteria specialist contacted him.

The wrong name “blue algae”

“This gentleman manages the Cyanobacteria Alert site and lists all the water points in France that are affected by these bacteria. The manner in which Pipo died immediately made him think of cyanobacteria poisoning.»

Found in most lakes and rivers on the planet for millennia, these bacteria are often called blue algae (wrong) because of their color and appearance. They form “pea-soup” —the same branches under and above the water when they multiply in lakes and rivers full of nutrients, such as nitrate and phosphorus, due to heating without water. water. As they increase in number, they release more toxins, and the risk of poisoning increases. Especially in animals that drink dirty water.

In 2017, thirteen dogs died suddenly after bathing or drinking water from the Loire and Cher. Authorities took samples that confirmed cyanobacteria poisoning. The cause: neurotoxins and hepatotoxins released by cyanobacteria. But for Pipo, the mystery remains …

Call for vigilance

“We are very aware of Pipo’s death. Only, during the visual surveillance, our agents did not find anything abnormal before his death or after, ”identifies the Côteaux de Gascogne development company, one of whose missions is to monitor the number of water available in Puydarrieux lake, classified Natura 2000.

“The occurrence is more common and natural in untreated raw river water and under weather conditions. If there is a suspicion of cyanobacteria pollution, we post information on signs near lakes and water points that concerned. »

If veterinarians assure that cyanobacteria poisoning leaves little time for animals to survive, the toxins can also cause problems in people when they bathe in dirty water. To avoid being exposed to the dangers of cyanobacteria, observe the top and bottom of the water points but above all, follow the safety instructions placed on the signs. Finally, respect bathing restrictions.

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